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Published: Sunday, 1/8/2006

It s the season to enter a cooking contest

Despite approaching deadlines, it s not too late to enter several recipe contests.

The best parent-child baking team is being sought for the AirBake Ultra Cookie Challenge. Parent and child (between ages 5 and 15) must submit their original recipe by Jan. 15. Creators of the five most extraordinary and wacky recipes will earn a free trip to New York to compete for a grand prize of a kitchen makeover worth $5,000 and a $1,000 college scholarship. Jill Cordes, co-host of the Food Network series The Best Of, will be the host of the March Cook-Off. For an official entry form and information, visit www.wearever.com.

The Grown in Idaho Recipe Contest is seeking holiday recipes using fresh, frozen, or dehydrated Idaho potatoes. Recipes must use a minimum of four ounces per serving (approximately half of a large-sized potato per person). Entries should include the recipe and a Grown in Idaho seal or label cut from packaging. For official contest rules, log onto www.idahopotato.com and click on the contest icon. Grand prize is $7,500 and first and second prizes are $1,500 and $500 respectively. Recipes and entries must be postmarked no later than midnight Jan. 15.

Potato Fries

Make your own baked fries using seasonings and a hot oven.

For Onion Paprika Seasoning, combine 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and teaspoon salt in a bowl. For Garlic Pepper Seasoning, combine teaspoon garlic powder, teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and teaspoon salt.

To make baked fries, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 6 large scrubbed potatoes in half lengthwise. Place each potato half, cut side down, on cutting board and cut -inch lengthwise slices. Place potato slices in a large mixing bowl and toss with desired seasoning mixture or salt and pepper to taste. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray foil lightly with cooking spray. Divide potatoes between two baking pans. Bake potatoes about 10 minutes; remove from oven and turn over potato slices. Return pans to oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned and fork tender.

Weight goals

Lifesteps Weight Management Program offered by St. Luke s Hospital and the YMCA is a 12-week program beginning Jan. 24. It includes a one-on-one interview with a licensed dietitian to learn about each participant s goals and expectations. The group meets every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. for support sessions at St. Luke s Waterville Medical Building at 900 Waterville-Monclova Rd., Suite C. The program incorporates a nutritionally sound diet, physical activity, behavior modification, and group support. The fee is $132. For information and registration, call 419-893-5911, ext. 6401.

Think spring

Gardeners who love to cook are already thinking about spring planting. A good resource for selection of seeds is the Cook s Garden seed catalog.

In 1984, Ellen Ecker Ogden co-founded The Cook s Garden, introducing salad greens and European heirloom vegetables for gardeners who love to cook. The catalog lists seeds for more than 500 hard-to-find varieties chosen for their epicurean qualities, such as Italian purple pole bean and Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes.

Sensational Seven top picks for 2006 are: Four Seasons Lettuce Collection, Lemon Drop Basil, Specialty Micro Greens, The Cook s Lettuce Blend, Kaleidoscope Carrot Mix, Ellen s Delight Pea sugar snap peas (a space saver crop), and Tionfo Violetto Pole Bean, an edible plant that grows up to 6-feet tall. For information, visit www.cooksgarden.com.

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